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11 Tips on Starting an Online Business

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Some of you may have already read this in The Straits Times. Any thoughts or comments?? --------------------------------------- Tue, Apr 07, ...

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Old 09-04-2009, 12:33 AM   #1
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Post 11 Tips on Starting an Online Business

Some of you may have already read this in The Straits Times. Any thoughts or comments??

Tue, Apr 07, 2009
The Straits Times
By Sherwin Loh

1. Pick and register a domain name:Choose a simple name - perhaps your company's name - to identify your business. Decide if you want the name to end with .com, or .sg extension.

The latter two identify your business as a local one. If you want a global audience, pick .com

You can also choose to register all three permutations to deter cyber-squatting, where someone can take your company's name and register it.

Registration fees vary and there is an annual fee for maintaining the name. To find out more about domain-name registration, visit the Singapore Network Information Centre (SGNIC) at

2. Design a website: This allows you to hook and interact with customers with appealing images, spiffy text and user-friendly navigation.

Hire a photographer to shoot products if you are planning a retail store, or yield profile shots for those offering services.

Have a rough idea of what the website should look like and hire a company to custom-design it.

Look into having a shopping cart that allows you to secure customer information. Add a chat interface for immediate online communication instead of sending e-mail and waiting for replies.

Depending on the number of webpages your site has, and the use of animation and music, be prepared to spend $1,000 to $4,000 to create one.

3. Find a Web-hosting company: You need to store your webpage content on servers rented out by Web-hosting companies. They will transmit your webpages over the Internet when someone types in your domain name.

The SGNIC site has a list of partners offering such services but there are also international ones.

Rates can start from $8 a month and go up to $99, depending on the amount of storage and bandwidth space, e-mail accounts, security and support levels. Some firms offer Web-hosting plans bundled with free domain-name registration and e-mail accounts, so shop around for a good deal.

If you are targeting the Singapore market, a local Web host means your page will load faster here as data is not sent across the world from an international server.

4. Blogshop: Alternatively, go small and think about setting up a small blogshop on free blog sites like LiveJournal (

It may not be the most professional-looking, as all you do is post a picture or thread, and hope to have visitors, but you can always upgrade to a proper website when things take off.

While it is possible to host your own website using a home broadband connection, the bandwidth may not be able to support high visitor traffic.

A Web-hosting company also provides dedicated technical support in case your website cannot be accessed due to technical faults.

5. Use free software: Save money by using free software. Consider G-mail or any free e-mail service instead of paying for one from local telcos.

Another free offering is Open Office ( to create documents and spreadsheets.

Use Internet phone services like Skype for cheap overseas calls.

6. Payment methods: Look into Internet payment options like Pay-Pal ( For monthly sales under $5,000, it charges 3.4 per cent plus $0.50 per transaction. Rates fall as the amount increases.

Otherwise, use online banking where customers can deposit money directly into your local bank account, even if both of you use different banks.

Setting up credit-card payments is worth considering if payment for your services and items is high and you need secure transactions.

7. Have a physical presence: Consider working with a retailer to showcase your products in a store. Or rent a booth to display items.

For $60 a month, you can rent one from Toy Outpost. Of the 200 booths at its Plaza Singapura shop, half are used by non-toy-related online businesses. About 10 online businesses rent booths solely to deposit items for collection by customers who bought online.

8. Getting funding: Media Development Authority (MDA): The MDA's i.JAM (IDM Jump-start and Mentor) initiative supports research and development efforts in the interactive and digital media sector. Be it Web applications or software learning tools, a qualifying project can get up to $50,000.

Companies must be in R&D and technology (creative, social or business model) and the team should have at least one full-time founder, who holds at least 20 per cent of the project's stake. Visit

9. Getting funding: Infocomm Development Authority: To help companies go online, the SME Infocomm Package (SIP) is a bundled package offering hardware applications, website development solutions and broadband support.

The SIP subsidy is available to 5,000 small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) on a first-come- first-served basis. As of last month, more than 1,000 SMEs have applied for it.

The subsidy applies to any SME with at least 30 per cent local ownership, fewer than 200 employees, less than $15 million in fixed assets and no website. Taking on an SIP means your company must develop a website for the business.

For more information, visit

10. Getting funding: Spring Singapore: Spring Singapore has two schemes for start-ups.

Companies developing innovative products or processes for a global audience can qualify for the Spring Startup Enterprise Development Scheme (Seeds) equity investment, which matches dollar for dollar what an investor puts into your business, up to $1 million.

Spring Seeds Capital, a subsidiary of Spring Singapore, will also take an equity stake in your company. For more information, visit

Under YES! Startups, or Young Entrepreneurs Scheme for Startups, Spring will contribute $4 for every $1 raised by applicants aged 26 and under for their businesses. The maximum grant is $50,000.

Spring will evaluate business proposals based on innovation, feasibility and potential market opportunity. For more information, visit

11. Getting funding: Microsoft BizSpark: For IT-related start-ups, Microsoft will provide free software tools. They include Microsoft Visual Studio, used to create graphical user interface applications for websites, and the Microsoft .NET Framework, a programing software for writing applications.

To be eligible, start-ups have to be in the business of software development, be privately held, be in business for less than three years and have less than US$1 million (S$1.5 million) in annual revenue.

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Old 16-04-2009, 05:59 PM   #2
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Default Re: 11 Tips on Starting an Online Business

i think the tips are a bit "forced". dont see any tips at all, but it's more like "basics to get started"

for online shop, blogspot or livejournal will do.

most important is traffic.

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Old 29-11-2012, 01:25 PM   #3
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Default Re: 11 Tips on Starting an Online Business

not even a single tip that we need to register in ACRA?

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Old 29-11-2012, 02:02 PM   #4
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Smile Re: 11 Tips on Starting an Online Business

Originally Posted by insane23rd View Post
not even a single tip that we need to register in ACRA?
Appears that this article is sharing pointers that are more on the IT aspects...

Whether online, home-based or, pushcart, shop, etc, as long as it is an activity carried out on a continuous basis to make a profit, in Singapore, it is a must to register with ACRA.

Check out ACRA's website for more useful info

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